The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), as the Responsible Governmental Unit for environmental review of the Perch Lake Habitat Restoration Project, located in St. Louis County, Minnesota, has issued the Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.
The DNR has concluded that an EIS is not required because the project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects. The justification for this determination is contained in the ROD. The Record also contains the Department's responses to all substantive written comments received on the Environmental Assessment Worksheet during the 30-day public review and comment period.
Issuing the ROD concludes the state environmental review process for this project according to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board rules, Minnesota Rules, part 4410.1000 to 4410.1700. This project can proceed to permitting and approvals.
The St. Louis River estuary is a waterbody designated by the DNR as a resource of Outstanding Biological Significance located within the St. Louis River Area of Concern. The Perch Lake Habitat Restoration Project would address existing habitat impairments by excavating accumulated sediment and organic deposits in Perch Lake to restore deep water habitat, increase dissolved oxygen concentrations and improve overall water quality. The installation of a 16- by 12-foot culvert between Perch Lake and the St. Louis River would improve hydrologic connectivity and aquatic organism passage, revitalizing the connection between the waterbodies with increased flow volumes, improved access to overwintering habitat for fish and reduced water residence time in Perch Lake.
The Minnesota DNR has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the project. Public notice of the availability of these documents for public comment is in the April 5, 2022 EQB Monitor PDF (link is external). A 30-day public review and comment period was open from April 5, 2022 until 4:30 p.m., May 5, 2022. Public comments are no longer being accepted.